The Endangered Species Act was not ill-conceived in the beginning, but misuse by land developers, greedy conservation interests and the EPA’s Orwellian reverse speak, has transformed ESA into the most misused, unjust and unconstitutional abrogation of our civil liberties in U.S. history.
How so? The EPA, with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has “listed” many species as endangered in some areas of the U.S., when they are abundant in others. In essence the EPA has fundamentally “confused” early native habitat (true habitat) with what they want to call habitat by erroneously using the phrase “Distinct Population Segment.” At minimum, the EPA has managed to pervert the terms “habitat” and “endangered species” from scientific reality.
Example: The bald eagle, although well known in North America and California for over 100 years, in the “lower 48″ has never been its population center. It is an overflow habitat, also known as “high cycle” habitat, much of which is extrapolated (made up). And although its numbers were dwindling here over the last few decades, it has always been prolific in Alaska and Canada, its true native habitat.
Yet, known and unknown (potential) habitat and overflow habitat, all being public and private property, has been unnecessarily held hostage to EPA/FWS regulation with ransoms paid by the owners. Use of the term “distinct population segment,” in reality an overflow population, is used to justify unnecessary takings of land, water and rights. The beneficiary of these takings is the FWS costing taxpayers again. Eventually these takings are often handed over to the Nature Conservancy or other organizations.
If another Chinook salmon never came up the Sacramento again, it would be unfortunate but certainly not endangered. Its native habitat is the Columbia River and rivers of the Pacific Northwest above Oregon. Same applies to the grizzly and the wolf, their primary population center is also Alaska and Canada where they thrive and belong … and so it goes. These animals are only “endangered” because the FWS says so, but most species clearly are not.
However, for those few species that truly are endangered, meaning in their native habitat and at a minimum viable population, we must be very careful. For who are we in our educated ignorance that we might decide the fate of a species, possibly for eternity. Sadly though, the great expectation of Rachel Carson’s vision, protecting our environment, has somehow morphed into a leviathan, an enormous runaway government train dragging our rights, economy … and species with it.